by Paddy Johnson on December 3, 2010 Art Fair

NADA Hotel Lobby

NADA Information Booth

NADA is giving me flash backs. Invisible Exports and Horton Gallery have booths facing each other at the back of Richelieu pavilion — just as they did last year. Leo Koenig‘s booth is once again, the first a viewer sees as they turn into the main section of the Napoleon section of the fair and Lisa Cooley is in more or less the same spot she was in 2009, only this time her space faces the opposite direction. In short the booth arrangement has remained much the same.

And so has the shitty Internet service. I’m writing this this post in the front lobby of the hotel because it’s the only place where the wifi works but it took me close to an hour to get online. Yesterday I had service for 10 minutes. “You’re the only complaint we’ve fielded” The Deauville IT Manager told me “They are very rare”.  Since then, the visible fact that I have an internet connection has attracted those who need one. I’ve spent the morning listening to horror stories from dealers and artists who have unsuccessfully been trying to send images to clients.

As for the art — it’s pretty good! There’s no this-is-bad-enough-to-warrant-it’s-own-post art, and almost all the work on display hasn’t been shown before. A few highlights:


Benjamin Tischer waves while I take a picture of his and co-owner Risa Needleman's Invisible Exports booth at NADA. Sean Horton of Horton Gallery on the left.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, at Invisible Exports

Thanks to Benjamin Tischer for unintentionally illustrating my general feeling about NADA: People are friendly here. As it happens Invisible Exports also has a jewel of a piece by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge — a reliquary for her teeth [pictured above]. P-Orridge also has an illustrious career as a musician in the pioneering noise band Throbbing Gristle, so it’s not too much surprise that she pin-pointed her mouth as the source of her creative output. A mandal and fish are pinned to the back of the small alter, but my favorite aspect of the piece is the teeth the artist has affixed as a door nob. It requires a viewer to touch them — an act I’m pretty sure wouldn’t occur unless demanded.

Jessica Labatte, Golden

Chicago based gallery Golden showcases the photographs of Jessica Labatte. The work has a digital feel to it in the sense that it appears slightly unnatural despite essentially being constructed still lives shot in her studio. Shots of reflective foil look like digitally-altered drawings, and are set against the same white backgrounds used in advertising. The images are disarming in the best sense of the word.

KS Art, Bill Adams

Gallerist Kerry Schuss pensively mans his booth filled with Bill Adams’ weird ball point pen drawings. Hairy animals with one or two eyes either exist alone or against a sunset backdrop. There’s a real richness in the heavily worked ink in these drawings. As it happens KS Art has a James Hamilton show up in New York also worth checking out. Photographic images of those in the music world simply don’t get enough play in galleries (Annie Leibovitz’s work notwithstanding).


On Stellar Rays, Installation view

Debo Eilers at On Stellar Rays

An indication of just how great a failure PS1’s Greater New York show was this year, On Stellar Rays‘ Debo Eilers displays work than looks better at NADA than it did in Long Island City . This is probably just context — PS1 displayed so much of the work badly it was hard to discern what was good and what wasn’t — but one expects this of an art fair and there hasn’t been too many blunders in that respect here. Anyway, I have to wonder how archival those plastics are, but I like how they mimic the look of commercial industrial design. The nude (not visible in these shots) – not so much – which is also a nice touch.

Museum 52, Sarah Braman (sculpture) and Mariah Robertson (wall work)

Museum 52, Installation Detail

This installation employs the same installation strategy as On Stellar Rays uses in their booth: abstract sculpture in front of a series of framed wall works. I’ve been seeing this a lot recently, likely because it’s very visually attractive. It helps when the work is strong, as is the case here. More on this later, at Art-Agenda.

The Hole, installation view

The Hole installation detail

Hole owner Kathy Grayson told me all the work in this living room themed booth was made specifically for NADA to show that art doesn’t just have to be sculpture or painting. I’m not sure this point needed to be proved, but I like the cohesiveness of the show even if some of the work is a little easy. I’ve never been a Barry McGee fan [yellow painting to the right].

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